Fringeworthy: A free self-fringing shawl pattern.

Fringeworthy: A free self-fringing shawl pattern.


Not too long ago and not so very far away…


I got to spend some time with one of the coolest knitters I’ve ever met…Shelli from Knitterly in Petaluma, CA.  This chick exudes down-to-earth, naturally gorgeous, California cool.

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One morning, I complimented her on a shawl she was wearing – one that I have since seen her in several times, which she says is her favorite that she wears all the time, although I would never have guessed that, as it looked freshly off the needles.  She told me it wasn’t so much a pattern, but a “recipe” for a self-fringing shawl that can be adapted to almost any yarn.

This jogged a memory.  Years ago, we had a Loops Troops member named Sherri (who has since moved to Hawaii, lucky dog!) who taught classes on self-fringing shawls.  Sherri often visited California, and as Shelli was talking, I remembered that Sherri used to visit Knitterly all of the time!  Yet another “small knitting world” moment.

Everyone in our group decided we MUST cast on this pattern ASAP.  More than one person cast on in some Loops Alpaca I had brought along as gifts.  I, however, had a UFO on the needles that I promised myself I would finish first…which I did in full OCD fashion…but upon returning to Tulsa, I cast on in Berroco Flicker.  I couldn’t believe how quickly the project developed, and before I knew it, it was time to cast off.  Voila!  “Fringeworthy” was born.

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I call it this because you will have a “cringe-worthy” moment when you get ready to do the self-fringing.  Just put on your big girl pants and rip, slowly…I promise, it will be OK!

“Fringeworthy” Pattern


Berroco Flicker, (189 yards per skein), 2 skeins color A and 1 skein color B

Size 13 circular knitting needles, at least 24″ long

Stitch marker


Cast on 6 sts.

Setup rows:  Knit 4, place marker, knit 2.  Knit one row.

Row 1: Knit 4, slip marker, k1fb (knit in the front and back of the stitch – an increase of one stitch), knit to end of row

Row 2: Knit, slipping marker as you come to it

Row 3: Knit, slipping marker as you come to it

Row 4: Knit, slipping marker as you come to it

Repeat these 4 rows until the shawl is as wide as you want it.  For my shawl, that was a total of 246 rows.

NOTE:  It is critical to ALWAYS MAINTAIN 4 stitches before the stitch marker.  These 4 stitches will become your fringe when your knitting is complete.  As long as you keep your marker in the same place, you can’t mess this up.

Now, you will start decreasing:

Row 1: Knit 4, slip marker, k2tog (knit 2 stitches together – a decrease of one stitch), knit to end of row

Row 2: Knit, slipping marker as you come to it

Row 3: Knit, slipping marker as you come to it

Row 4: Knit, slipping marker as you come to it

NOTE:  You can switch colors (or not) whenever you like.  I switched to black Flicker about 3/4 of the way through my shawl.


Continue until you have only 6 stitches left on the needle, ready to start a row where the stitch marker is after the 2nd stitch (i.e. you are starting the row at the angled edge of the shawl, rather than the straight edge).  Now comes the exciting part!  Take a breath…

Bind off the first two stitches and set the stitch marker aside.  You have 4 stitches left on the needle.  VERY GENTLY and SLOWLY, remove your needle.  Carefully unravel the first 4 stitches to make your first “fringe.”  Wrap this piece around itself to form a knot.

Next, you will unravel the next 4 stitches to form another fringe, and continue slowly and methodically along the length of your shawl.  I recommend doing this in one sitting, so that your knitting is not left alone and vulnerable to children, cats, dogs or whatever other wild beasts might invade your living room.



This pattern is incredibly versatile, and there’s something addictive about seeing how different yarns will react to it.  Shelli said that one of her favorites was made with Be Sweet Bamboo, #15 needles, and stockinette rather than garter stitch.  Another variation is to increase and decrease every 2 rows, which will give you a deeper triangle with a “faster slope” than the version I made.

So if you know the basic cast-on, knit and purl, give Fringeworthy a try.  It’s a great next-step project for beginners!

- Shelley

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  1. Janie Berks says:

    Way cool! I’m going to try this.

  2. This looks really fun! Just curious, did you hold colors A and B together, or did you knit them in a stripe pattern? I don’t see a reference to using A and B in the pattern.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. nevermind — I see the second color in the photo (I thought that was just a shadow!)

    Look forward to trying this out.

  4. I’ve just begun knitting this scarf and i had a question…the directions say it is critical to maintain 4 stitches before the stitch marker, but when knitting in the front and back, doesn’t it move the stitch marker as additional rows are added? I have more than 4 stitches before the marker. Is this wrong? Thanks for any direction you can give.

    • Hi Vickie,
      Whether the stitches are before or after the stitch marker depends on which row you are on. On rows 1 and 3, the 4 stitches will be to the left of the marker. On rows 2 and 4, the 4 stitches will be to the right of the marker. The important thing is that there are always 4 stitches on one side of the marker – and on the other side, the number of stitches will grow (then decrease later in the pattern). Those 4 stitches will become the fringe at the end.

  5. Very lovely — I will give this a try!

  6. Cheryl Shelton says:

    I just finished knitting the Fringeworthy Shawl using Blue Herron yarn. It turned out beautifully and was fun to do.

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